“Amidst the heartbreak of yesterday and the chaos that has gripped Afghanistan for weeks, we continue to make extraordinary progress in bringing our people home,” Congressman Issa said in a Friday statement. “It is an honor to help rescue and reunite families and loved ones, but we still have more work to do.”
The announcement comes after California’s Cajon Valley Union School District, which has been working in collaboration with Issa’s office in recent days, said Thursday that three San Diego-area families were successfully evacuated from Afghanistan while another five families, including 14 students and eight parents, remain in the country.
Four families are “secure and in process,” and one family “still awaiting help,” according to school district spokesperson Howard Shen.
Families begin to board a U.S. Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemaster III during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 23. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Samuel Ruiz).
The Los Angeles Times first reported on Tuesday that 24 students and 16 parents were stuck in Afghanistan after traveling to the country over the summer.
Issa has helped rescue six families in total. The two families rescued on Thursday consist of seven people, including three adults and four children. The Cajon Valley school district on Thursday said that three of eight families in the school district who were stranded in the country had been safely evacuated.
The first four families the congressman’s office helped leave consisted of seven adults and 16 children.
The exact number of Cajon Valley school district children who were rescued remains unknown, but Issa’s office believes “most of the 20 total children” it has rescued “are enrolled in school within the Cajon Valley Union School District.”
The school district on Thursday said “one family consisting of two adults and five children returned back” to the U.S. on Wednesday afternoon. Two additional families were confirmed “safely out of Afghanistan” on Thursday.
“There are additional five families with Cajon Valley students remaining (14 students and 8 parents) to the best of our knowledge,” Shen told Fox News in a Thursday statement.
“This has been an around-the-clock operation, and individuals inside of government and outside of it deserve our deepest thanks,” Issa said. “But more members of our community still need our help. The mission is to bring our people home, and we will continue to do it.”